Citizens Advice offers Black Friday shopping tips
Citizens Advice’s consumer service has dealt with almost half a million consumer-related issues such as faulty washing machines, undelivered parcels and fake designer goods in the past year.
More than 50,000 of these were during November 2018, by far the busiest month for the consumer service.
With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching, Citizens Advice is guiding consumers on how to buy and budget smart.
If you change your mind about a purchase
Unless you made your purchase online, shops aren’t legally required to accept returns for unwanted goods. Despite this, the shop may choose to have its own returns policy. If it does, it must honour it, so it’s worth checking your receipt.
If you buy online, however, unless it’s bespoke or made to measure, by law you will get an automatic 14-day cooling off period. This starts the day after you receive your order, and there doesn’t need to be anything wrong with the item for you to get a refund.
If you’re worried your purchase is faulty
If something’s gone wrong with an item you’ve bought, you may be entitled to a refund. You’ll have legal rights if you unwittingly bought an item that is broken or damaged, unusable, not what was advertised or doesn’t match the seller’s description.
You’ll have to move quickly, as you only have 30 days to return something that’s faulty with the guarantee of getting your money back. But your rights don’t end after 30 days – after this period the retailer doesn’t necessarily have to refund you, instead it has the option of repairing or replacing the faulty product.
If you’re worried about scams
Be careful not to end up with a counterfeit item. Secure websites should start “https” and have a padlock symbol in the taskbar. Be wary of spelling or grammar mistakes, and companies that don’t provide an address.
Also seek out reviews of the seller from other buyers as these can help you decide whether or not you trust the seller. If there is a lot of negative feedback from other people, it’s a sign that something’s not right.
If there’s a problem with your Black Friday delivery
If you bought something to be delivered, it’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you.
If the seller used a delivery company, it should chase the company to find out what’s happened to your order – it’s not your responsibility.
Check the delivery address you gave the seller – then contact them and ask where your order is.
Stick to a budget
Graham O’Malley, debt expert at Citizens Advice, said: “At this time of year many people may feel the pressure to part with their money. It’s important that anyone thinking about turning to credit or taking out a loan to help pay for purchases understands the full costs involved and if they can actually afford to pay it back.
“If you’re struggling with your finances, it is important to do something about it as soon as possible. You can get free debt and money advice from Citizens Advice to find a way forward and avoid spiralling debts.”